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$5m forfeited to govt in seized plane scandal that rocked Zambia

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The Zambian government has been made $5 million richer following a court ruling that ordered the forfeiture of the sum seized in a gold scam scandal that rocked the nation last year.

The same ruling also mandated the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to release the plane involved in the scandal to its owners after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Gilbert Phiri, and other interested parties in the criminal case entered into a consent judgment.

The Global Express T77WSS Jet, was confiscated at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka last year on suspicion of ferrying gold from the country worth millions of dollars after landing from Cairo, Egypt.

In the consent judgement signed on April 10, the owner of the disputed jet, World Aviation Sinai International Mountains Limited, through one of its Directors, Michael Adel Michel Botros, an Egyptian, agreed to surrender the $5 million to the Zambian government in exchange for the plane.

The DPP, Gilbert Phiri, on the other hand, consented to the immediate release of the the aircraft to its owners

The jet was reportedly hired by a management company known as Ibis Air PTY Limited.

The parties further agreed on the other properties seized comprising of 602 pieces of brass pellets, a combination of Copper and Zinc metals, weighing 127.28 kilograms purported to have been valued at about $7,636,800 from Zambia to Egypt.

The consent judgement read:

“That DEC shall release the aircraft, namely, Global Express T77WSS Jet, to the first and second interested parties forthwith:

“That the third interested party Michael Adel Michel Botros shall surrender the sum of $5,000,000.00 only to the government of the Republic of Zambia.

“That the sum of $697,700.00 be released to the third interested party Michael Adel Michel Botros through his advocates to cover some of the attendant costs of facilitating and servicing the aircraft, namely, Global Express T77WSS Jet in order for it to achieve optimal airworthiness.

“All other items seized by DEC be surrendered to the State: and we consent to the order in the terms herein set out.”

In an affidavit in opposition to the DPP’s application filed last year, Ibis Air (PTY) Limited director, Baher Fawzi Mohamed Aldamasy, an Egyptian and a resident in South Africa had stated that the State’s procedure of seizure was irregular as the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act describes the Jet as premises and not property.

Aldamasy had argued that the owner or Ibis was under no obligation to inquire into the work history or activities of the client beyond that which is necessary to determine the rates, safety of the jet and operation as per the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

He stated that the jet was hired to be used for three hours with the flight plan indicated Cairo to Lusaka and then Lusaka to Cairo.

Botros had also argued that he was a victim of a gold scam which also involved government officials but the DPP wanted an order to have the jet used in the gold scam scandal forfeited to the State.

Five Zambians, business man Sedrick Kasanda, Patrick Kawanu Jnr(Pilot), Jim Belemu(Mahogany Air Chief Executive Officer), Robson Moonga, and Francis Mateyo, are currently undergoing trial in the Lusaka High Court on charge of espionage.

Metro

Church in Northern Province cautions against cyberspace abuse, supports cyber security law

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The church in Northern Province has issued a warning to Zambians regarding the misuse of cyberspace in the guise of human rights and media freedoms.

Bishop Elias Mponela, the Regional Coordinator of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), highlighted a concerning trend of cyberspace abuse among some Zambians during an interview with Zambia Monitor in Kasama District.

While acknowledging that every Zambian is entitled to human rights, Bishop Mponela stated the importance of not abusing these rights.

He stressed that Cyber Security Act, though beneficial, would be enforced without exceptions, regardless of one’s societal status.

“The Cyber Security Act is a necessary measure that must be implemented promptly, but with care to ensure that individuals’ rights are respected,” Mponela commented.

He expressed concern over the misuse of cyberspace by prominent figures, particularly politicians, who spread messages of hatred and division.

Mponela urged authorities to address such behavior before it escalated.

Highlighting the significance of a free media, Mponela underscored the importance of journalists operating in a conducive environment without fear of reprisal from those in power.

“Access to information is vital in today’s world, and those in authority must ensure it is guaranteed to foster an informed society,” he stated.

However, Mponela cautioned against media outlets abusing their freedom by disseminating misleading information or promoting divisiveness.

The church’s stance reflects a call for responsible use of cyberspace and a balanced approach to ensuring both freedom and accountability in media practices.

This story is sponsored content from Zambia Monitor’s Project Aliyense.

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Metro

Nigeria kicks as South African police torture citizen to death

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The Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) has condemned the killing of another of its citizens, Prince Muoka Ebuka, who was reportedly tortured to death by the police on Friday, May 17, in Danielskuil, Northern Cape, over drug-related allegations.

The Union, in a statement, also demands an immediate probe into the killing of the 43-year-old businessman who hailed from Obosi in Anambra State, said the incident further highlights a disturbing trend of police abuse targeting Nigerians in the Northern Cape.

The statement issued on Saturday and signed by NUSA National Publicity Secretary, Habib Miller, indicated that the deceased was tortured to death by the police in the guise of interrogation over drug related allegations.

“Since March, there have been similar cases in Kimberley involving drug accusations and police violence. Another Nigerian, Chika Anuino, was killed by police in Springs, Johannesburg, on April 25,” the NUSA statement said.

“Reports from Ebuka’s wife, Joyce, paint a harrowing picture of law enforcement officers storming their residence, compelling her to evacuate to shield their young child from witnessing the violence.

“Ebuka was then subjected to assault and coerced to produce drugs allegedly in his possession. When their search proved fruitless, they forcibly escorted him to a waste dump, alleging he had concealed illegal substances there.

“Eyewitnesses further allege egregious misconduct, with officers resorting to coercive tactics, including requesting pepper spray after emerging from Mr Ebuka’s residence.

“Despite employing drug detection methods, no evidence was found, yet the relentless interrogation tragically led to his demise.

“Moreover, the lack of proper crime scene preservation raises grave doubts about the integrity of the investigation,” NUSA stated.

Miller noted that the incident has been further complicated by the police’s refusal to issue a statement or allow the victim’s family to open a case docket on the murder of their breadwinner, adding that the had faced intimidation from the police when she tried to report her husband’s death.

NUSA said the Union demands a thorough, impartial investigation into Prince Ebuka’s killing and the broader issue of police abuse in the Northern Cape.

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